When you’re struggling with drug addiction, sobriety can seem like an impossible goal. But recovery is never out of reach, no matter how hopeless your situation seems. Change is possible with the right treatment and support, and by addressing the root cause of your addiction.

For many people struggling with addiction, the toughest step toward recovery is the very first one: deciding to make a change. It’s normal to feel uncertain about whether you’re ready to make a change, or if you have what it takes to quit. It’s okay if you’re torn. Committing to sobriety involves changing many things, including:

  • the way you deal with stress
  • who you allow in your life
  • what you do in your free time
  • how you think about yourself

It’s normal to feel conflicted about giving up your drug of choice, even when you know it’s causing problems in your life. Recovery requires time, motivation, and support, and it’s okay to consider your situation before you make the commitment to change.

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 What to do if you’re craving?

Drug abuse often comes from misguided attempts to manage stress. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to unwind and relax after a stressful event or to cover up painful memories and emotions. But there are healthier ways to keep your stress levels in check. Different stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you. When you’re confident in your ability to quickly de-stress, facing strong feelings isn’t as intimidating or overwhelming.

  • Exercise- A walk around the block can be enough to make a difference. Yoga and meditation are also excellent ways to bust stress and find balance.
  • Step outside and savour the warm sun and fresh air- Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape.
  • Play with your dog or cat- Enjoy the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur.
  • Experiment with your sense of smell- Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savour a scent that reminds you of a favourite vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.
  • Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place- Think of a sandy beach, or a fond memory, such as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends.
  • Pamper yourself- Make yourself a steaming cup of tea, give yourself a neck or shoulder massage. Soak in a hot bath or shower.
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What treatment options are there?

Once you’ve committed to recovery, it’s time to explore your treatment choices.

Successful treatment has several steps:

  • detoxification (the process by which the body rids itself of a drug)
  • behavioral counseling
  • medication (for opioid, tobacco, or alcohol addiction)
  • evaluation and treatment of co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
  • Medications can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and treat co-occurring conditions.
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As you consider the options, keep in mind:

  • No treatment works for everyone- Everyone’s needs are different. Drug addiction treatment should be customized to your unique situation. It’s important that you find a program that feels right.
  • Treatment should address more than just your drug abuse- Addiction affects your whole life, including relationships, career, health, and psychological well-being. Treatment success depends on developing a new way of living and addressing the reasons why you turned to drugs in the first place.
  • Commitment and follow-through are key- Drug addiction treatment is not a quick and easy process. The longer and more intense the drug use, the longer and more intense the treatment you’ll need. And in all cases, long-term follow-up care is crucial to recovery.
  • There are many places to turn for help- Not everybody requires medically supervised detox or rehab. The care you need depends on a variety of factors, including your age, drug-use history, medical or psychiatric conditions.

As you seek help for drug addiction, it’s also important to get treatment for any other medical or psychological issues you’re experiencing.

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The best tip?

Don’t give up—even if you’ve tried and failed before. The road to recovery often involves bumps, pitfalls, and setbacks. But by examining the problem and thinking about change, you’re already on your way.

If you need help with a drug addiction, visit talktofrank. For help with an alcohol addiction, visit drinkaware.

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